52nd International Vocal Competition - Opera | Oratorio
8 - 15 September 2018


Hannah Bradbury. Finale 49ste IVC 2012


52nd International Vocal Competition 's-Hertogenbosch 2018 - Opera | Oratorio

Operatic excerpts must be performed in their original language and key. 

All opera and concert arias must be performed from memory. Sheet music is allowed for the oratorio pieces and for the compulsory vocal work by Sylvia Maessen. Singing from memory, however, is preferred for these pieces as well. 

For the PRELIMINARY ROUNDS the candidates have to choose 2 pieces of music, one from style period I and one from style period II or III (see 4.6.). The two pieces must be of 2 different languages. Singers who want to participate for the Wagner prize have to present 1 Wagner aria for this round. A maximum of 10 participants will be selected to compete for the Wagner prize. 

For the COMPETITION proper the participants must choose 10 pieces

The candidate must perform in at least three languages. 2 different languages in each round and three different languages in total. 

The participant's chosen repertoire must include music from three different periods and styles.

  • Style period I: until 1810 
    (at least 3 pieces)
  • Style period II: 1810 – 1919
    (at least 3 pieces, all of Puccini’s music is included in this period).
  • Style period III: 1920 to the present day
    Participants must choose at least 2 pieces from style period III. 
    Works composed by the following composers also count towards the style period III: Leos Janacek, Maurice Ravel, Ottorino Respighi and Franz Schreker. The operas Salome, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos, Arabella, Daphne, Intermezzo and 4 Letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss count towards the third period. 
    Music from operettas and Zarzuelas, even when composed after 1920 (like for instance by Lehar) do NOT count towards style period III compositions. They will count as style II compositions. Please see the annex at the end of the rules and regulations with further suggestions for music from style period III. 

If the participant wants to compete for the WAGNER PRIZE he/she has to include one Wagner aria in the 10 pieces mentioned above plus one extra aria for the Wagner audition during the first round. The two Wagner arias / fragments must be at least 4 minutes long and from a different opera or from a different character in the opera (e.g.: not 2 times a Wolfram aria). 

Candidates who are selected for the Competition must clearly state their complete repertoire list and programmes for the first round and semi-finals, including name of composer (with year of birth and year of death, if applicable), title, publisher, and performance time of each work. 

Candidates who are selected after the preliminary rounds will receive the music of the 52nd IVC compulsory vocal work Oh, che tranquillo mar by Sylvia Maessen in PDF form beginning of June 2018. Please note that this work does not count for style period III. 

Candidates are allowed to repeat (sections of) their programme of the preliminary rounds during the first round or semi-finals, but also have the liberty to perform an entirely different programme. Repetitions of repertoire from the first round during the semi-finals are NOT allowed. 

Deadline for payment of Competition inscription fee and complete repertoire list and programmes for the first round and semi-finals of the 52nd Competition: 1 July 2018. Candidates are allowed to present minor changes to their repertoire and programmes until 1 August 2018. After this date no requests for changes will be accepted. 

Repertoire Opera | Oratorio:

The Competition is divided into three Rounds: the first round, the semi-finals and the final. 

The Management of the Competition and the conductor of the final will choose the candidate’s programme for the finals, taking into account the preferences of the jury members and a balanced musical offer for the public.

The repertoire list Opera | Oratorio for the Competition must comprise:

  • 10 opera arias or 10 oratorio arias or a combination of both. All combinations of operatic and oratorio arias are permitted. 
  • The compulsory vocal work Oh, che tranquillo mar by Sylvia Maessen 

Specifications concerning the repertoire list:

  • Oratorio repertoire includes solo arias from masses, sacred and secular oratorio, sacred and secular cantatas.
  • Within the total repertoire list of 10 works candidates may feature a maximum of 1 operetta aria, or 1 concert aria, or 2 orchestral songs.
  • If operatic arias and oratorio arias are both presented, at least one operatic aria and at least one oratorio aria (in case the candidate presents more than 1 oratorio aria) must form part of style period III. 

NB: to apply for the Oratorio Prize one has to propose at least 6 oratorio arias and sing at least 4 oratorio arias during the whole Competition. To apply for the Opera Prize, one has to propose at least 6 opera arias and least 4 opera arias have to be sung during the Competition. It is therefore not possible to compete for both prizes. 

First Round

  • A programme of two or three arias (depending on the length of the programme). The programme must contain at least 2 different style periods and at least 2 different languages.
    The candidate may repeat part or all of his/her programme from the preliminary rounds if desired; other arias from his/her repertoire list may also be sung.  The minimum length of the first round programme is 12 minutes, the maximum 15. Candidates are asked to perform their arias in the order they have indicated.
  • Candidates who apply for the Wagner prize will sing one Wagner aria in a separate audition for the Wagner jury. They will not sing a Wagner aria in their competition programme for the first round. This separate audition will only count for the Wagner prize, not for the decision whether or not the candidate will pass to the semi-finals. 


  • A programme of two or three arias (depending on the length of the programme) and the compulsory work  Oh, che tranquillo mar by Sylvia Maessen. Again the candidate must present at least two different style periods and two different languages. The candidate must choose works that he/she did not perform during the first round. The minimum length of the semi-finals programme is 15 minutes, the maximum length is 18 minutes, including the compulsory work by Sylvia Maessen. Candidates are asked to perform their arias in the order they have indicated.
  • Candidates who compete for the Wagner prize must present two semi-final programmes: one that includes the Wagner aria that they have proposed in their list of 10 works in this round and one that has no Wagner aria included in case the candidate is selected for the semi-final but not for the Wagner Prize. Theoretically, the Wagner jury can select a candidate for the Wagner Prize who is not selected for the semi-finals. In that case the candidate will only perform one Wagner aria during the semi-finals and not be considered as a possible winner for any other prize. 

The candidate may propose 2 works in two languages from two different style periods that he or she would like to perform during the Finale. Jury members are invited to indicate which of the 10 arias in the candidate’s list they want to hear in this round. The Management of the IVC and the conductor of the Finale will try to take these preferences into account when deciding upon the definite programme. It is possible that the candidate will have to repeat a work or works that he/she has already performed in earlier rounds. 
2 Candidates will be selected after the semi-finals to perform the compulsory work of the competition in the Final. 

Further possible composers for Style III
(non-exhaustive list)

John Adams
Louis Andriessen
Samuel Barber
Bela Bartok
Alban Berg
Luciano Berio
Leonard Bernstein
Harrison Birtwistle
Benjamin Britten
Ferruccio Busoni
Hans Cox
Luigi Dallapicola
Peter Maxwell Davies
George Gershwin
Philip Glass
Hans Werner Henze
Paul Hindemith
Arthur Honegger
Willem Jeths
Zoltan Kodaly
Ernst Krenek
György Ligeti
Theo Loevendie
Bohislav Martinu
Gian Carlo Menotti
Olivier Messiaen
Luigi Nono
Carl Orff
Krzysztof Penderecki
Francis Poulenc
Sergej Prokofjev
Aribert Reimann
Wolfgang Rihm
Kaija Saariaho
Peter Schat
Dmitri Sjostakovitsj
Igor Stravinsky
Karol Szymanovski
Michael Tippett
Viktor Ullmann
Michel van der Aa
Kurt Weill
Judith Weir
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Bernd Alois Zimmermann

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